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Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers: Using Ed's Amazing POTS System Paperback – January 1, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Smith’s Book is highly recommended for all libraries.”

-Library Journal


“Garden writer Edward Smith, an avid vegetable gardener, shares his expert knowledge on the subject in this excellent manual for both novice and experienced gardeners.”

                                    -The National Gardener


 “...in this pretty, thorough book, Smith addresses seed and plant selection, pest control, herbs and container combinations, and the mouth-watering photos are inspiring.”                

-The Seattle Times


“The how-tos are well described, and the writing is both solid and inviting, This, plus beautiful photography and handsome design, trademarks of Storey Publishing, carry the reader happily from one section to another. From container garden design to care to harvest, this book covers the subject well.

                                    -St. Louis Post-Dispatch


“The directions are easy to follow, making the projects seem extremely doable.”

                                    -Florida Times-Union


“Smith divulges his methods for getting the most out of a containerized vegetable garden, including his ‘secret’ potting soil mix, design ideas, and harvesting tips, all accompanied by color photographs of his garden.”

                                    -American Gardener

About the Author

Edward C. Smith is the best-selling author of The Vegetable Gardener's Bible and The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible. For more than 30 years he and his wife, Sylvia, have lived off the grid in Vermont, in a house they built on land they cleared by hand. Together, the grow more than 100 varieties of vegetables, fruits, and herbs in their 2,000 square feet of gardens and containers.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; First Edition edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580175562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580175562
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.6 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edward C. Smith is the author of Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers. He tends a garden of over 1,500 square feet filled with raspberries, blueberries, flowers, herbs, and nearly 100 varieties of vegetables, including some heirlooms, in his home state of Vermont.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book starts out good and states that it's going to tell you how to make your own self-watering containers. However, once you get through all the initial fluff, I found the details necessary to actually follow through on the author's suggestions to be extremely limited. The author discusses how to make any pot self-watering, but uses a ready made insert. Then he does not say where to get the ready made insert from. Parts of the book read more like a pat on the back to his own successes with pictures from his own garden. That's great, but I bought the book to learn how to set up my own self-watering system which I still am at a loss after reading the book. I was very disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a manual for vegetable gardening from containers. Smith, an experienced vegetable gardener, noted that many would-be gardeners lack access to garden plots, or find tending such plots difficult because of physical challenges. Gardening in containers would make it possible for these people to grow some of their own food, but yields have been notoriously low for container-grown vegetables. Smith and his wife Silvia embarked on a project several years ago to see if they could develop improved growing methods that would produce produce of acceptable quality and quantity in containers. What they found through their experimentation is that virtually all garden vegetables can be grown very successfully in containers, and that some actually do better in containers than in traditional earth gardens. In this book, they describe in detail how to grow vegetables and herbs in containers, noting which crops and varieties are the best choices for container growing. The book is a joy to browse through, with its numerous high-quality color photographs, many of which were taken by Silvia Smith.

Smith notes that the key to good vegetable yields is an ample and continuous supply of water. In traditional pots, this is hard to achieve, since the pots must be checked and watered several times a day during peak seasons. A further problem is that many of the nutrients are washed out of the soil each time the pot is watered. This led Smith to the new generation of "self-watering pots," which consist of a container for holding soil and roots, suspended over a large water reservoir, with a significant air gap in between, as well as a means for water to be wicked into the soil from the reservoir.
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2 Comments 152 of 166 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I learned a great deal from Edward Smith's other book, The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, and I use it as a reference on germination and growing soil temperatures. So I did not hesitate to order his Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers when I decided to buy some books on container gardening. I ordered this book and McGee and Stuckey's Bountiful Container. Bountiful Container is comprehensive, thoughtful and very helpful. However, this book reads like an ad for self-watering containers, which were apparently provided free to the author with the hope that he might endorse them. Unlike the author's first book, this lavishly illustrated book is short on information, more suitable for a coffee table than a container gardener. If there were a money-back guarantee, I would request it.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a serious organic gardener, with 4500 square feet of flowers, herbs and veggies. I have a good garden library and I'm glad to add this book. As far as I know, it is the only container gardening book that addresses organic vegetable growing. I used to think that tilling the earth was superior to container gardening. In recent years, however, time pressures have made me wonder about the viability of growing convenience items (lettuce, tomatoes, onions) close to my front and back doors in containers so that dinner would be easy to harvest. Having read this book, I'm ready to try it. A very quick and lively read, the book's only shortcoming is lack of adequate information on how to create your own self-watering pots.
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Format: Paperback
I have read a lot of gardening books, but this is one of the all time best!! It is full of facts, as opposed to general descriptions. "A full grown tomato takes a gallon of water a day." as opposed to some vague keep it well watered that you get in so many books.

It is precise, without being dry. Written with a sense of humor, as well as common sense. I found a lot of very useful information, even though I am a seasoned gardener, and a novice would find this invaluable. The information I found was accurate, and as importantly, explained. I love to know the "why" behind something.

I must also comment on the pictures. They are good pictures of exactly the plant being talked about. You could easily identify an unknown plant from the pictures and descriptions. That is rare...most books show plants from too far away, or in a grouping...neither of which is helpful to me.

All and all, this is my favorite gardening book of all time!! If I had to list a fault, I would be hard pressed to come up with one. Perhaps a bit more on the section on making a self watering pot at home. The basics are all there, but I would have like a bit more on the bigger containers, like how to turn a whiskey barrel into a self-waterer. And to go along with that, a few resourses on parts (as opposed to finished units.)
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